Lawmakers hold special session, honor Newtown victims

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- At the State Capitol, State Lawmakers paused Wednesday afternoon to remember those lost at Sandy Hook.

Governor Malloy and the legislative leadership were among those speaking at the one hour memorial, along with the state lawmakers that represent the town of Newtown in the General Assembly.
Members of the clergy read the names of the victims, followed by a closing prayer.

The purpose of Wednesday's special session was to approve budget cuts to close a $365 million deficit.

The biggest cut in the plan will be felt by the state's hospitals, a $90 million slash in the cash they get for treating people with no insurance. This could result in layoffs at some facilities.

"We are now paying hospitals, literally, three, four, five times as much as we were just two years ago...for caring for this population," said Rep. Brendan Sharkey.

However, House Majority Leader Sharkey, who will be the new Speaker of the House, says all other programs will remain in place because much smaller cuts are spread among all agencies.

"The effort was a surgical one in looking at programs that could take some cuts, but not to the point where they were going to affect overall policy," Sharkey said.

"We tried to minimize that and minimize the impact while accomplishing a balanced budget," said Sen. Don Williams.

Republicans are getting something in this deal they have long been pushing for: the elimination of longevity bonuses for thousands of non union state employees.

"Longevity payments don't happen in private industry," said Rep. Larry Cafero, "you don't just get a bonus for breathing an extra year...and that was something we wanted to correct and I think we did that."

The state flag near the Capitol Dome waved at half staff during the special session, in honor of those lost at Sandy Hook.
Lawmakers all pinned on ribbons of the Sandy Hook school colors of green and white.

Legislative leaders say the bipartisan agreement on the budget revisions was hammered out Friday night, while the events in Newtown were playing out on a television in the room. 
Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams, whose wife is an elementary school principal, says he watched the reports in disbelief and shock. Now he believes that despite budget problems, the state must provide more dollars for even tougher school security.

Williams says some are talking about increasing taxes on guns and violent video games to help pay for that.

Copyright 2014 WTNH TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Connecticut (change)

Connecticut has 169 cities and towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state. Connecticut is the 5th of the original thirteen United States.
Offices & Officials

Governor: Dan Malloy
Lieutenant Governor: Nancy Wyman
Attorney General: George Jepsen
State Treasurer: Denise L. Nappier

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